Mark Foster took over at the top of the leaderboard in the Alstom Open de France, but Thomas Levet and World Number Four Martin Kaymer were among those in close contention on an eventful third day at Le Golf National.
Foster, who finished third at last week’s BMW International Open in Munich having led after three rounds, reached the turn in three under today to move to nine under for the tournament.
The Englishman birided the third, sixth and seventh holes and, after bogeying the par three eighth, also picked up a shot at the ninth.
Overnight leader James Morrison was a shot behind Foster after turning in 38. He double bogeyed the second after finding water off the tee and also dropped a shot at eight to cancel out a birdie at the sixth.
While Morrison was heading in the wrong direction, the same could not be said of home favourite Thomas Levet, who drew level with Morrison on eight under courtesy of his sixth birdie of the day at 16.
Levet’s stunning performance ensured he was firmly in the hunt for a first European Tour victory since 2009, when he triumphed at the Open de España.
Scotland’s Richie Ramsay was seven under, having mixed four birdies with two bogeys in his front nine.
Kaymer was another to make significant progress today and a stunning approach shot at 14 set up an eagle that lifted him to four under for the day and six under overall.
The German can reclaim the World Number Three ranking from US Open Champion Rory McIlroy with a top eight finish this week, yet he will now have his sights set on much more than that.
English rookie Matthew Nixon was also six under with seven holes of his penultimate round remaining, but Richard Green, who started the day one adrift of Morrison, saw his hopes severely dented by a disastrous eight on the par four seventh, where he made a six yesterday.
After sending his tee shot left into heavy rough, Green then found further trouble and was forced to take a drop after losing his ball in the bushes. The left-handed Australian eventually made it onto the putting surface with his sixth shot, before two-putting from around 20 feet.
A bogey at the eighth saw Green slip further down the leaderboard, although he did at least get back to five under with a birdie at nine.